JAMES PENRICE has issued a rallying cry to his Partick Thistle team-mates ahead of their relegation six-pointer against fellow Championship strugglers Queen of the South at Firhill tonight.

The two clubs are yet to record a single win since the turn of the year and with the race to beat the drop heating up, this evening's contest in Glasgow's west end is one that neither side can afford to lose.

The Jags left-back broke into the starting XI as the club were relegated from the top flight two seasons ago – and the Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate is determined to do everything within his power to make sure he does not add another relegation to his CV.

“When we went down from the Premiership, we never ever thought that we were that kind of team, that we were bad enough to go down. We didn’t feel that when we played against teams they would walk away going ‘Imagine playing for them, they’re shocking’.

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"Some of the manners of the defeats this season have not been great but some of the games we’ve killed ourselves. We’ve only got ourselves to blame and we can’t complain about our position. It’s massive that we get the three points.

“[Relegation] could end [my career]. That’s not great. It’s massive that that doesn’t happen. The club is too big to be in League One.

"I want to help this club move up the league and I don’t want to be part of another relegation. It’s come to a point now where we need to go and get wins and hopefully the big players in the dressing room can step up and get us points."

The 21-year-old defender, who is closing in on 100 appearances for Thistle, also believes a change in attitude is required from Ian McCall's team. All too often, he admits, the desire to grind out a result can work against Thistle's best interests.

"We need to change that," Penrice asserted. "It’s not a mentality [issue]. We want it so bad that we don’t want to play out and cause ourselves problems. We want to be compact but sometimes we need to go and finish teams off.

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"It swings about. You could say that we’re too attacking or that we’re so defensive that they’re now coming back into the game but we just need to get it right. That’s what happens in this league. Everybody beats everybody but we can go and take points off everybody. We believe that."

Despite Thistle's perilous league position, Penrice believes that the squad that McCall has assembled can perhaps challenge for promotion – and even the title – next season. And with Zak Rudden returning in time for tonight's do-or-die clash, having barely featured since joining from Rangers, the left-back reckons that the Jags now have a strike force capable of causing problems for any team in the league.

“I think that the players we have got in the dressing room are good enough to go and challenge for the league," he said. "I honestly believe that.

"We’ve got two strikers in Zak Rudden and Brian Graham who can cause any defence problems. They’ve obviously not played together because Zak’s been injured but him coming back will be massive. The squad that we’ve got – compared to last season, we’re in a better position now. The squad is far better. It’s the way that we’re getting beat that we need to change.

“The defence needs to be sorted out. You can’t go through a season without keeping a clean sheet and I don’t even know the last time we actually did.

"It comes from the attacking players as well. We don’t want to be winning games 1-0 and hanging on. Obviously, three points is three points but we would rather be winning games three or four nil and showing everybody what we can do."

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It is now 18 days since Thistle's last competitive fixture, when the Jags were knocked out of the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Cup by Raith Rovers. Their last league outing was almost a month ago; a 2-0 defeat to Dundee at Dens Park where a mistake from Penrice led directly to the second goal. It is something that Penrice feels frustrated by, but he insists that the error will not weigh on his mind ahead of tonight's match.

“You make mistakes. I’m young and they happen," he says. "I just need to put it to the back of my head. I can’t change anything.

"Right after it as well I gave the ball away and I woke myself up and said, 'What are you doing?’. But you can’t keep thinking about it. Everybody in the dressing room will tell you that’s it done now. It’s done and you just move on.

"It’s a massive game [tonight] and you want to be involved in massive games. Obviously you would rather be at the other end of the table but you want to step up and let the fans sing your name or go home shouting your name, singing your praises. It’s massive for my career as well. There will be people watching because it is such a massive game in the league and I want to go and make a stamp on it."